COVID-19 Updates Regarding Events, Meetings, and Other Activities
The following are the current directives that guide student organization programs, including events, meetings, and other activities. As we receive updates and clarity about certain programs, we will post information here and email the Presidents and Advisors of Spring 2021 registered student orgs.
What in-person programs are allowed?
The University is currently in Phase 2 for in-person student org programs. In Phase 2 restrictions, student organizations registered for Spring 2021 may submit an Event Application* in OrgSync to request an in-person program on-campus. Until further notice, all Event Applications for in-person programs will be reviewed and require approval from a number of University entities, including a hybrid committee consisting of members of the university’s Student Life Advisory Group and Safety and Incident Management Group (note that this hybrid committee replaces the Event Safety Committee until further notice). As such, all Event Applications must be submitted at least 15 business days prior to the requested program date.** A student org that does not submit their Event Application at least 15 business days in advance runs the risk of their program not being reviewed and approved in time. Please review the dates for which Event Applications may be submitted for programs in Spring and Summer 2021.
The following are the conditions for allowing in-person programs under Phase 2 (updated February 25):
- Programs must be on-campus; off-campus programs are still prohibited because we cannot ensure proper safety protocols are monitored and enforced. For the same reason, fraternities and sororities cannot host programs, including meetings and initiation activities, in/at their houses. Locations will be limited to the University Union, Gateway Center, Rec Center (including Rec Fields), and Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life (CFSL), where staff can monitor safety protocols and ensure proper cleaning in between reservations.
- Programs must follow current CDC and campus guidelines, including use of face coverings and social distancing at all times.
- Attendance limit is based on the space’s pre-determined COVID-19 capacity, which allows for social distancing for all attendees, based on the projected attendance and requested room set up. The COVID-19 capacity is approximately 20% of the "normal" (non-COVID) space capacity.
- Regarding the attendance limit, that is in total (over the course of the program duration); participants cannot rotate in and out or stagger attendance to maintain the COVID-19 capacity. Note, however, that most of the available spaces in the Union can create hybrid (part in-person, part virtual) program participation, and student orgs may request that in the Event Application.
- Only UNT students and employees may attend student org programs; no off-campus/outside visitors, including guest speakers and vendors, are allowed.
- Per the President's February 24 email: Starting March 3, students attending programs will need to provide proof of COVID-19 test results.
- Absolutely no food or drink will be allowed.
As spaces are limited, student orgs will not be able to choose their program location; if approved, a space will be assigned based on the program needs described in the Event Application. That is why it is important to provide full details. In addition, student orgs may request only one bi-weekly or monthly series/recurring reservation. A student org may have up to two open reservations at a time (e.g., one series and one event reservation). Once an approved program has concluded, the student org may then submit an Event Application to request another program.
As a way to maximize a limited amount of space, reserving entities will use block reservations for all student org requests. Reservations, inclusive of set up, program, and break down, will be limited to 90 minutes, after which there will be a 30-minute window to clean the room prior to the next reservation. Thus, the student org may not arrive prior to the assigned start time and must leave by the assigned end time. Exceptions to the 90-minute limit can be discussed with the reserving entity (e.g., Union, CFSL) after the program is approved by the hybrid committee, once it is time for the space to be booked.
At this time, room set-up options will be limited to theater, classroom, hollow square/rectangle, open U, or empty (no furniture). Student orgs cannot move any furniture/equipment in the room.
Due to the fluidity of the situation, this information can change at any time when there are concerns of public safety.
*Sport Clubs wishing to reserve Rec Center (including Rec Fields) space should contact Rec Sports for guidance.
**An Application is not considered “submitted” until both the President and Advisor approve it. Both will receive an automatically-generated email from "UNT Student Activities OrgSync" asking for their review and approval.
Our in-person program was approved. Now what?
After a program is approved and space reserved, Student Activities will send additional safety information and directives to the Event Contact, President, and Advisor, to be signed by the Event Contact or President and returned. Organizations that fail to comply with university directives, including safety protocols, will be referred to the Dean of Students office and will be unable to reserve space on-campus for the remainder of the Spring semester.
Each student org program will have a Safety Monitor (i.e., the Event Contact listed in the Event Application), who must be present at the program. It is the responsibility of the Safety Monitor to understand and coordinate the adherence to all directives and other program-specific requirements. It is the student org’s responsibility to enforce directives, including the attendance limit (the COVID-19 capacity), social distancing, and wearing face coverings, for the duration of the program, from set up through break down.
Per the President's February 24 notice to students: Starting on March 3, students will need to provide proof of current COVID-19 test results in order to attend any student org or department program. Building staff will validate test results upon arrival. The only exception is for pick up and drop off events, for which only the program facilitators (i.e., the student org members running the program) will need to provide proof of test results. It is the student org's responsibility to notify in-person participants/program facilitators of testing requirements. Please send them the Testing Requirements document (or publicly promote it in program communications/advertising if participants are not known in advance) at least 72 hours prior to your program date to ensure they understand that they need to take action prior to the program. If your reservation is a series/recurring program, note that participants/program facilitators will need to provide current test results for each program date.
Student orgs should ask in-person attendees to perform a COVID-19 self-assessment (via the self-monitoring form) prior to arrival and ask those who show symptoms or don’t feel well to stay home. Student orgs are required to take attendance (arrival time, full name, EUID, phone number, and departure time only) at the program and keep the records for at least 4 weeks, submitting them to Student Activities within 24 hours of the completion of the program. This will help with contact tracing, if needed.
When possible, student orgs should provide a virtual or other in-person participation option to accommodate, for example, prospective attendees who have pre-existing health conditions and/or are immunocompromised. If a student requests any type of accommodation for a program on campus, student orgs may contact Student Activities for assistance.
Student orgs should limit personal transactions at the program, employing no-touch material or item distribution (including agendas), using digital distribution instead. When possible, they should collect dues or other payments via electronic money exchange, rather than physical currency.
Supply/item pick up and donation/item drop off events have additional safety guidelines, including a requirement for participants to pre-register for a pick up/drop off time slot using the University Union's sign up software, University Tickets. Use of the software is free. Instructions will be provided to the student org once the event is approved and space reserved.
What in-person programs are not allowed?
At this time, student orgs are not allowed to host in-person programs (whether indoors or outdoors) off-campus*. This includes:
- Any in-person gathering of officers, members, and/or potential members to conduct organizational business or an activity, if all of those who would be present do not reside together. This includes executive board meetings and video and photo shoots, among others.
- Solicitation (commonly known as "tabling"), due to the transactional nature of the activity and inability to socially distance.
- Activities that include someone picking up or delivering/dropping off items (ex., goodie or swag bags, t-shirts), due to the transactional nature of the activity. It is allowed as long as it follows: (1) the process, including approval, and conditions as described under "What in-person programs are allowed?" above; and (2) the safety guidelines provided upon approval.
- Donation drives, due to the transactional nature of the activity. This activity is allowed if people are instructed to drop off their donations directly to the drive benefactor (ex., Goodwill, Denton Community Food Center) or to make a purchase through the benefactor's Amazon Wishlist. It is also allowed as long as it follows: (1) the process, including approval, and conditions as described under "What in-person programs are allowed?" above; and (2) the safety guidelines provided upon approval.
- Restaurant give-backs/fundraisers, if (a) it is an expectation of the restaurant or student org that org members be present, OR (b) if it is dine-in. If student orgs are encouraging members and non-members to dine-in, the activity is not allowed. This activity is allowed as long as the restaurant does not require an organizational presence at the restaurant AND if the student org promotes the fundraiser as a delivery/take-out option only.
- Blood drives, if it is an expectation of the blood center or student org that student org members be present. This activity is allowed as long as the blood center does not require an organizational presence during the blood drive. A student org can certainly promote a blood drive happening in the community (not connected to the student org) and encourage people to donate blood.
- Volunteering with community organizations/partners as a student org (that is, the student org coordinating a group of members to volunteer together with a community organization/partner). Student orgs can advertise individual service opportunities to members, who may choose to sign up to volunteer on their own.
If you are unsure whether an activity that your student org would like to host could violate university directives or policy, please ask well in advance of your proposed program date.
*Note for religious student orgs only: Per Governor Abbott’s executive orders, religious student orgs may hold religious services (including Bible studies and like activities) in-person. We encourage these student orgs to conduct their activities virtually while the governor’s orders are in effect, but when religious student orgs choose to meet in-person for religious services, we strongly encourage attendees to comply with public health officials’ guidance to wear masks and maintain social distance in an effort to keep our community healthy and safe.
What happens if my student organization violates any of these directives?
Student orgs, regardless of whether they are currently registered with Student Activities, that fail to comply with university directives, including safety protocols, will be referred to the Dean of Students office and will be unable to reserve space on-campus for the remainder of the Spring semester. When student org activities are brought to Student Activities' or Dean of Students' attention, we look into each situation, taking into consideration university policies/directives, which may include UNT's free speech policy, and state and federal law/executive orders. If you see something you believe violates the UNT Code of Student Conduct, please submit it and the Dean of Students' office will review it. If it is determined that a student org is not following directives, the student org and involved students may be held accountable for violating the UNT Code of Student Conduct, which is applicable both on- and off-campus.
What are the options regarding virtual activities?
Student Activities encourages student orgs to host virtual programs via Zoom, Teams, or the platform of your choice. As students, you have access to utilize both Zoom meetings and Teams for free. Need some help with working breakout rooms, preventing Zoombombing, optimizing for music/singing, etc.? Check out these Zoom tips and other Virtual Resources/Activities.
Student Activities can help promote virtual programs for registered student orgs, so please consider submitting an Event Application for them in OrgSync. Additionally, feel free to tag Student Activities on social media, @UNTActivities, and we will do our best to promote as many virtual programs for registered student orgs as we can.